PLP benefit sanctions project
Worth a look ...
... the Public Law Project have a benefit sanctions project which incorporates training and information resources ... and also takes on casework by referral.
PLP’s article ‘Do benefit sanctions breach Article 3 ECHR?’, published in May’s LAG Bulletin, is now available to download.
The Public Law Project (PLP) has launched a microsite - http://www.claimantcommitments.org.uk
- for advisers and claimants to help make sure that individual claimant commitments are appropriately tailored and do not impose unrealistic requirements.
The site went live after the Social Security Advisory Committee report raised concerns about inappropriate requirements being made of claimants. The SSAC report also highlighted that people with mental health problems are less likely to feel that their commitments reflect their circumstances.
Content at http://www.claimantcommitments.org.uk is customised for specific groups of claimants who may be more at risk of having a sanction imposed or who are likely to be particularly badly affected if they are sanctioned.
Leaflets for different claimant groups can be downloaded as printer-friendly PDFs and fit on one piece of A4. References to the relevant regulations and sections of Department of Work and Pensions guidance are included so that claimants can refer to them when they meet their work coaches or communicate via their journal.
The leaflets available are:
• Universal Credit: General information
• Universal Credit: Domestic Abuse
• Universal Credit: Care leavers
• Universal Credit: Childcare
• Universal Credit: Homelessness
• Universal Credit: Mental health
• Universal Credit: Refugees
PLP has been running a project on benefit sanctions since 2016.
As part of this work PLP has been accepting referrals for casework and running training workshops for welfare rights advisers, mental health support workers, and people working in housing. It has become clear from our research and training that some Universal Credit claimants are being given standardised or template claimant commitments that do not reflect their individual circumstances or which fail to take into account important information.
Many people who claim Universal Credit are unaware that factors such as mental health, domestic violence, homelessness or childcare can be taken into account when drawing up their claimant commitment.
Our concern is that claimant commitments that are not tailored to meet individual circumstances create a higher risk of sanctions, as claimants may have work-related requirements imposed on them that are not reasonable or realistic.
PLP has published a useful set of FAQs about applying for universal credit and signing claimant commitments during the COVID-19 crisis -
Just had a note through from PLP that they’ve updated the FAQ section on their microsite: https://claimantcommitments.org.uk/faqs/